Raleigh – A tradition of playing the lottery together led Orman Walls of Wilkesboro and his brother Jimmie to a $277,777 prize.
“We play the lottery and watch our soaps,” Orman joked. “It’s what we do for fun. We don’t cook much anymore, so we go out to eat and then get some lottery tickets.”
That’s what they were doing Saturday night when they stopped by the Market Basket on NC 268 in Wilkesboro. Orman got some tickets for both of them, including the new ‘777’ game. They went back to the car. Jimmie started driving home. Orman started scratching. Just before they got home, Orman said, “I think I have a winner.” Jimmie pulled over, grabbed the ‘777’ ticket and said, “I think you’re right, but we should go back and check, just to make sure.” He turned the car around and went back to the store.
“Everybody was celebrating,” Jimmie said. “One of the ladies who worked there looked at the ticket and jokingly asked me, ‘Are you married?’ I pointed to my brother and said, ‘He’s the one who bought the ticket.’”
The brothers claimed their prize Monday at lottery headquarters in Raleigh. After required state and federal tax withholdings, they split $195,837. Orman plans to save the money. Jimmie plans to use some of the money to help send his daughter and three granddaughters on a New England vacation.
The $5 game launched earlier this month with four top prizes of $277,777. Two top prizes remain.
Ticket sales from instant games like ‘777’ make it possible for the lottery to raise more than $600 million a year for education.